Transformable amyloid-beta mimetic peptide amphiphiles for lysosomal disruption in non-small cell lung cancer

Christopher M. Baehr, Lu Zhang, Yi Wu, Andras Domokos, Wenwu Xiao, Lei Wang, Kit S. Lam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the largest contributor to cancer mortality in the United States. Traditional chemotherapies are toxic and prone to the development of drug-resistance. Recently, several drug candidates were shown to induce lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP) in aggressive cancers. This has led to increased interest in lysosome dysregulation as a therapeutic target. However, approaches are needed to overcome two limitations of current lysosomal inhibitors: low specificity and potency. Here, we report the development of a transformable nanomaterial which is triggered to induce LMP of lysosomes in NSCLC. The nanomaterial consists of peptide amphiphiles, which self-assemble into nanoparticles, colocalize with the lysosome, and change conformation to nanofibrils due to lysosomal pH shift, which leads to the disruption of the lysosome, cell death, and cisplatin sensitization. We have found that this cell-penetrating transformable peptide nanoparticle (CPTNP) was cytotoxic to NSCLC cells in the low-micromolar range and it synergized cisplatin cytotoxicity four-fold. Moreover, we demonstrate CPTNP's promising antitumor effect in mouse xenograft models with limited toxicity when given in combination with low dose cisplatin chemotherapy. This is the first example of enhanced LMP via transformable peptide nanomaterial and offers a promising new strategy for cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121078
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Amyloid-beta
  • Cisplatin
  • Lysosomal targeting
  • Nanofibers
  • Nanoparticles
  • Non-small cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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